Blockchain may help simplify the plastics recycling supply chain for greater adoption.
Recycling may seem simple but those in the industry say its anything but. The plastics recycling chain is complex, and lack of basic understanding of what plastics are recyclable and quality control have led to lowered participation rates. That’s a problem, because according to the UN, an estimated 300 million tons of plastic waste is generated each year, and 79% ends up in landfills and the ocean. Only 9% is actually recycled.
Stan Chen, CEO of recycling platform RecycleGo, told Cointelegraph that the recycling business is “plagued with ineﬃciencies, a slew of stakeholders, and a lack of digital data.” In addition, he believes that what stops the industry from growing is “a need for greater supply chain visibility for better decision-making. The more visibility you have in any kind of supply chain, the more you’re able to engage in enterprise resource planning, including pricing and purchasing decisions and inventory management, which has a direct impact on protecting your margins and ultimately your value creation as a whole.”
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Noah Lehman, manager of communications at the Blockchain Research Institute, co-authored a report titled “Transforming Plastic Pollution Using Blockchain.” It details how blockchain can improve the sustainable plastics business by providing transparency between packaging items and the businesses that use it. ReCycleGo, inspired by the report, announced they’ve joined forces with technology firm DeepDive Technology Group to use blockchain for supply chain transparency within the plastics recycling industry. The first phase will give supply chain participants the ability to identify the entire history of a plastic bottle, including its creation date, recycle date, and when it was made into a brand new bottle. This will be accomplished using a combination of QR codes and IoT sensors.
“We collect everything that has value from the point of manufacturing. For instance, the geo-location of the bottle. Whatever we’re doing to capture any data, whether it’s immediately relevant or not, it’s placed on the blockchain as irrefutable documentation that can’t be edited,” said Misha Hanin CEO of DeepDive.”We are building this blockchain not just for RecycleGO, but for everyone who wants to be a part of this network. Our goal is to take recycling rates from around 8% to 100% moving forward,” he added.
Participants can then view the collected data via API or web portal. RecycleGo’s blockchain offering is currently in testing.